Welcome to the Indie Tabletop Newsletter, hear from independent tabletop games designers about their current and upcoming projects. Take a look at the games we’ve already self-published and our upcoming Kickstarters, maybe even get yourself a free print n play game. Learn more about this newsletter here.
Lowered Pledge: We did something rare in the industry: we reduced the cost of a pledge for our second-largest backer group. To date, a quarter of all affected backers chose the cheaper pledge saving them some budget and us manufacturing and shipping costs. Win-win for both sides.
Mass Manufacturing: We closed our most important milestone to date: On 10 October, the day after Essen’22, we sent all Castleshire print files to the manufacturer and placed our order. Next steps are approving all factory files, then watch the game come to life. 🤩
Print and Play: We have started on the PNP files for Castleshire. We’ll do proper internal testing and a test run with a small crowd from our Kickstarter campaign. If everything goes to plan, the PNP files will be released before the end of November.
Next Up: Work on the Legendary Edition will be continued in November. We’ll finalize the design of the wooden box and insert tray system.
I’ve yet to take a very good photo of the ornaments, they’re made with resin and iridescent pigments which means they twinkle beautifully in person. For now, I’ve stuck with gold and silver for the meeple and dice emblems but I’m more than happy to make them in whichever custom colours customers would like.
Malum Hortus – the artwork is back in full swing and hopefully I’ll have the beautiful and evil versions of the foxglove to show soon, which will hopefully kick off a series of art shares that I’ve been planning for the game. To be the first to see them please consider following me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or all three if you’re super keen.
The Board Game Survival Kit – I realised I can do custom labels for these again, the labels won’t be the same, they’ll be made from a single colour in permanent vinyl, but it means I can hopefully offer custom kits again in time for Christmas. So, if you would like your loved ones name on their kit – e.g. “Nikita Plays Green” (and I do) – please just get in touch.
For those in the Bristol area, there are quite a few places to get your hands on a game in person (go on, help out your local postie a bit) this festive season – we will be at:
– the Wellsway Christmas market on November 13th
– the Bristol Pop-Up Shop at The Galleries Shopping Centre from November 17th to December 24th
– Flourish Home & Lifestyle Store, Saltford
And I would suggest checking our Instagram in case we add more great markets to get you into those jingle bell vibes. We had a lot of families last Christmas buying Murder on the Cards to play as an easy activity everyone could enjoy in that lull after the Christmas meal.
Since we’ve ultimately got our Murderer’s best interests in mind at all times, we agree that this is the perfect time to play against him – make sure to eat up, get nice and relaxed and just let your guard down. Just be sure to save The Murderer a mince pie.
We told you – we can’t help but channel Nightmare Before Christmas vibes here at Drop Dead Fun Games… see you amongst the twinkling lights this festive season.
This flocking game involves a good bit of standing around looking at Flamingoes. Each turn players will have the option to use up to 3 of the dice pulled from the bag. Those dice are used for improving the player’s skills: flocking, feeding, and nesting. Players can also use pink dice for adding Flamingoes and Eggs. Players will also create combos.
The biggest challenge players will face in Flamingo is using their actions carefully. Players only have 35 actions for the entire game. It is possible to grab 3 dice each turn, but the player runs the risk of letting their opponents maximize their play instead of just rushing ahead. Players will also find that their skills as conservationists act as multipliers for the Flamingoes they have attracted and the nests that have been built.
In all the game comes down to logic. Can players effectively place their dice and get the =, <, or > in the right spots for those combos and multiples?
I enjoy the puzzly nature of Flamingo and my girls have had a lot of fun picking on me while we play together. I will say having two 4 year olds gang up on you while playing is a very silly time.
I look forward to seeing you all when we launch on November 1!
For Tacticon 2022, I had finalized a prototype of Top Tale: Tall Tale, but I didn’t actually get a chance to play it at the conference (more on that later). However, I met an artist at the conference who I think has the perfect art style for Top Tale: Tall Tale. Her name is Steph and she is the artist behind Tipsy Druid Studio (www.tipsydruidstudio.com), and she’s based out of Colorado, which makes in-person collaboration more possible.
Steph’s whimsical artwork is full of imagination, and reminds me of childhood stories like, “Where the Wild Things Are”, which is exactly the kind of vibe I’m going for with Tall Tale.
Associated with this post is the first commissioned artwork from Steph, which is one of the player persona card images. For each player persona card, I intend to make the card a tarot-sized card to stand out from the standard topic cards. On each card there will be five player persona elements: Character, Ability, Item, Sidekick, and Setting. These five elements (or as many as possible) will be illustrated on the opposite side of the player persona card. This is meant to inspire the details in each story. In the example image, the five elements are: “tribal bear” (to avoid trademark infringement), fidgeting (although it’s not able to be illustrated well, and I will likely end up changing the ability for this particular card), blowgun, warthog, and forest.
Aside from finding the artist for Tall Tale, I recently had a chance to do a full play-through of Top Tale: Tall Tale. To my surprise, the first full play test was a huge success. Frankly I didn’t know how well it would work and had just conceptually thought through how a game would go and I expected it to be very similar to flow experienced in The Original Game series. What really came out in the play test, was that the first round was the hardest to come up with a story, but each round was easier than the last. This is in part because players ended up building upon each previous story. That is what made the game especially hilarious. Players would really embrace their player persona and build their character’s story along the way. As expected, it will be a really handy tool for character building for D&D or creative works in general. It was an amazing start!
So, I’m now even more excited to work on Top Tale: Tall Tale, and I really hope to have enough time to develop it to where I can print reviewer decks early next year. I’m in the middle of moving, renovating my current house, and getting my current house ready to rent, so “spare” time is short these days. I may not have all the artwork commissioned for those reviewer decks, but I hope to have enough to give a really good idea of what the full game will be. I have been planning to deliver roughly 30 player persona cards in the finished game, and you can imagine how much time and money it will take to create all the paintings, as well as the instructions and box artwork. It’s going to be an awesome game, and potentially it will be what really accelerates the Top Tale series.
Meanwhile, we have plenty going on, we’re just back from the excellent KCon convention in Milton Keynes and next month we’re off to the excellent UnCon in Sandwich, Kent. We’re getting ready for the launch of our next Kickstarter for three brand new SSO expansion decks and following that our tabletop miniatures game Boarders and Black Flags.
Most excitingly, our amazing Zuuli fans helped the Mini expansion reach a whopping 220% of our funding goal! Thank you to everyone that backed, shared and supported me throughout and I can’t wait to get the big ball of fluff Red Panda and the fierce and friendly Hippo to everyone. I worked with the fantastic Ivory Graphics again to get these printed and once this newsletter goes live I should have already received all of the produced copies! A slight frustration of Gamefound is that you can’t open the Pledge Manager for at least 4 weeks after the campaign finishes so we will be stuck in limbo for a week or so before I can start collecting shipping and addresses. But with November looking quite postal strike heavy I’ll be glad to have ticked off this part of fulfilment.
With respect to Essen, this was my first time ever visiting and what an amazing, if not a little overwhelming, experience.
I may pop a proper post together outlining my full experience but my personal highlights were playing (and purchasing) Coral & Mind bug, alongside meeting a bunch of incredibly talented designers and publishers.
The 2nd edition of Zuuli is also ticking along nicely so stay tuned on social media to hear when you can grab your very own copy, which will include all of the new cards from the Mini expansion!
That’s all for now so I hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween!
At the moment they are taking a break from some older designs to focus on 2 with environmental themes based on issues affecting Australia, namely the impact of feral animals on our native animals (working title: “Threatened!”) & another about trying to reconcile competing land use between conservancy, residential, & mining (working title: “It’s all Mine!”).
“Threatened!” is a 2-player set collection game with strategic movement around a research area (the game space) where players are researchers collecting data (sets) on native animals found there while trying to remove feral animals they capture. Played over 3 rounds, representing a 3 year funded research project, players will end each round by manipulating the play area based on the feral animals remaining. New cards are drafted into the research area, representing new animals moving in to fill ecological gaps, & the players then start collecting their samples to see what changes may have occurred.
“It’s all Mine!” is a 2-4 player tile laying game with a drafting mechanic that all players have commented on & asymmetric scoring for each ‘faction’. Players are either trying to maximise conservation areas, residential estates, or open cut mines as they place cards that must overlap existing cards while following the overlap hierarchy that dictates what is allowed to move into (overlap) existing areas. Players must play semi-cooperatively to prevent a run-away winner but also leave themselves options to pull the win out of the bag with strategic placement.
Both games are available for testing on tabletop simulator & anyone interested in trying them is invited to contact me at the email address below.
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